Saturday, March 16, 2002
Homestead Unveils New Frick "Fist" Statue
In an attempt to compete with Downtown's forthcoming Gene Kelly statue, the city of Homestead has come up with a new image which honors its lineage. Its new statue of the fist of industrialist tycoon Henry Clay Frick honors a long line of proud bourgeoisie dominance.
“I’m tired of all those unions and their supremacy,” artist Mellon B. Rockford exclaimed. “I really wanted to express the bitter struggle which the capitalist has gone through in his quest to crush the working man. Sure, robber barons have traditionally gotten big homes, large bank accounts, and social acceptance, but in terms of artistic integrity and grass roots support, they've been misrepresented. It's just not right. I wanted to do something to change that.”
Rockford continued to explain that his inspiration arose from the 1892 Homestead strike in which Frick hired Pinkerton armed guards to quell a union uprising. In the incident seven US Steel workers were killed or “appropriately put in their place” as Rockford interprets.
“I wanted to remind all working people that they are merely cogs in American society,” Rockford explained. “If these ‘working people’ had a real place in our society then they would either own a big home or a Mercedes Benz.”
Homestead city council was in debate about where to place the new statue. Initial opinion was campaigning for a spot next to either Pier One Imports or Dave and Busters, “spots where affluent whites could identify.” However, council president Max McMartsen suggested a less prosperous location to “remind the less fortunate that we control their destiny.” Deliberation is expected to continue well into May, while the statue’s construction is projected for early autumn 2002.
Financial support for the statue has come from record-setting donations from area corporations. USX reportedly gave over $1.2 million, while Mellon Bank and Alcoa have each put up $500,000 respectively. This allowed Rockford to use a combination of weather-treated bronze from Parma, Italy and genuine human decayed bone excavated from graves of former steelworkers to make the statue.